July 24, 1996 in Nation/World

Australian Court Upholds Euthanasia

Associated Press

An Australian court upheld the world’s first voluntary euthanasia law today, striking down a legal challenge by doctors and aborigines.

The challenge to the Northern Territory Supreme Court was one of several attempts to scuttle the law, which allows doctors to administer lethal doses of drugs to the terminally ill. A bill also is pending in Parliament that would override the law.

Euthanasia became legal in the Northern Territory on July 1, more than one year after the regional legislature passed the bill.

Opponents hope to tie up the law in the courts, as happened with a similar initiative in the United States. Voluntary euthanasia legislation in Oregon was approved by a voter referendum in 1995, but a federal court blocked it from taking effect.

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